Archive for November, 2017

Breastfeeding and Natural Mothering

Sunday, November 26th, 2017

Natural mothering is essentially taking care of your baby with the equipment God gave you—your breasts, your arms, your back, and your time.  A mother involved in natural mothering tends to rely on her own natural abilities and body to meet her baby’s needs.  Due to the frequent nursing involved with natural mothering, she is likely to remain close to her baby.

The absence of bottles and pacifiers alone tends to help mothers and fathers learn to do the parenting themselves and to be there for their babies.

The breast becomes a source of emotional “nourishment” as well as total nutritional  nourishment in the early months.  The mother involved with natural mothering soon learns to offer comfort nursing to her baby.  This emotional aspect of nursing is very important to the baby.  The person who says to a nursing mother, “You don’t want to be a pacifier to your baby, do you?” doesn’t understand the importance of comfort nursing.

When I first attended La Leche League meetings in 1964, pregnant with our first baby, I couldn’t understand why mothers nursed their babies so much at the breast.  I was obviously observing some comfort nursing.

The breastfeeding mother who does not use bottles and pacifiers  soon realizes how much her baby needs her, and she dreads leaving her baby.  Separations are painful, and she does everything possible to avoid them.  The understanding father picks up on this and supports his wife.

Nursing at night while sitting up is very fatiguing so the nursing mother soon learns that the family bed is a necessity and a “luxury” as the baby nurses on and off during the night while mother sleeps.  The family bed is truly for family.  Dads enjoy the contact with their baby, and moms wake up rested.  During sleep, mom and dad are nurturing their baby emotionally.  They are giving their baby a sense of security in the darkness.  They are providing their baby with a closeness to his parents, the two most important people in his life at this time.  The baby has the closeness of his mother and her breasts as needed and his feet are often stretching out seeking physical contact with dad.  All is well with this baby who receives this kind of care from his parents.  This baby is very lucky indeed!
(Sheila Kippley, part of keynote address, LLL So. Calif. State Conference, May 1998)

Breastfeeding and Attachment Parenting

Sunday, November 19th, 2017

The following is part of a talk I gave some years ago in Southern California.

My topic tonight is attachment parenting in a detached world.  If you as a parent said to your two-year-old child:  “I don’t love you anymore,” what would happen?   Your child would cry!  Your child and each person needs to feel loved, to feel special.  Love means helping the one we love.  It means service.  It means trust.  It means that someone likes to be near you.  It means sharing in someone’s pain or discomfort.  It means being inconvenienced.   It means sacrifice.  Parental love is caring love.

Babies especially need to experience the love of their mother and soon their father, and that is what attachment parenting is all about:  Conveying love to your child in various ways.

On the other hand, by detached parenting I mean ways that will be perceived by the child as less loving due to less involvement or distancing.  For example, some mothers who let their babies cry-it-out for 15-30- and even 45 minutes say they do this because they love their children and are teaching them that they are not the boss in the home.  I can’t judge any mother, but my point is that the baby will perceive that behavior as less loving than being picked up and comforted.

Some would define breastfeeding as attachment parenting.  Yet there is the rare situation where a nursing mom can be detached.  Some might say:  It’s certainly not bottle-feeding your baby.  Yet some of us know bottle-feeding moms and parents who are very attached to their baby.  In fact, the first couple we knew who took their baby everywhere with them were bottle-feeding their baby.

Thus attachment parenting is not necessarily defined by the type of feeding we give our baby.  However, I have promoted natural mothering for over 30 years [now 50 years], and I am convinced nature’s way is best.  Mothering is really what breastfeeding is all about.  Through breastfeeding, as mothers, we learn to give of our time, and we learn to give our child that special emotional and physical care to show that he is loved.  With breastfeeding the child receives plenty of that important lap time with mother.   Natural mothering, I believe, is at the heart of providing the best experience for the baby during the early years.

Breastfeeding offers an easy learning environment for the mother.   She learns how to be patient, how to be inconvenienced, how to be unselfish in providing the proper care for her child, and therefore she learns to love better.  I believe that both my husband and I are better parents because I chose to breastfeed.

And, most importantly, the breastfed baby or young child at a critical age is feeling loved and is learning how to trust.    The world tells us that we should strive to have that good baby, but my conviction is that the baby teaches its mother how to be a good mother, especially when she breastfeeds.
(Sheila Kippley, part of keynote address, LLL So. Calif. State Conference, May 1998)

Breastfeeding and Its Benefits

Sunday, November 12th, 2017

Every year I write quite a few blogs that review the breastfeeding research for the previous year.  Each year the research is overwhelming on the benefits of breastfeeding.  The more I learn, the more I want to see churches, schools, and health care program do more to educate their people about these blessings God wants to give babies and their mothers.  Certainly the Church should be doing more to teach the abstinence-free natural baby spacing that results from the right kind of breastfeeding.

I’m excited to inform our readers about some important research that was recently published.  Two studies deal with situations that are sometimes controversial—SIDS and bonding.

Breastfeeding (partial or exclusive) for two months cuts the risk of SIDS in half.   The longer the mother breastfeeds, the greater the protection.  (Pediatrics, October 2017)  A common reaction to SIDS is a fear-inducing message to new parents that they must never sleep with their baby.  On the contrary, the truly safe sleeping pattern is one that follows the safe-sleeping rules.  For guidelines on safe bed-sharing with baby, go to links at the NFP International website ( left column) .

The other research showed that breastfeeding aids bonding between mother and child up to age 11.  As the researchers concluded: “Breastfeeding was observed to have positive consequences for maternal sensitivity beyond the infant–toddler period. Mothers who persisted in breastfeeding for a longer duration increased their maternal sensitivity over time, suggesting that breastfeeding may set in motion a cascade of positive benefits for mothers in their parenting behaviors.”  Mothers and child were observed at 8 different times during the course of this study which involved 1,272 families. The mothers averaged only 17 weeks of breastfeeding.   “It was surprising to us that breastfeeding duration predicted change over time in maternal sensitivity,” said the study’s lead author, Jennifer Weaver, PhD, of Boise State University. “We had prior research suggesting a link between breastfeeding and early maternal sensitivity, but nothing to indicate that we would continue to see effects of breastfeeding significantly beyond the period when breastfeeding had ended.”   (Developmental Psychology, October 2017)

The next four blogs will deal with the importance of the mother’s breastfeeding and her presence to her baby.
Sheila Kippley